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Grazing management workshop set for Jan. 6-8

A biologically effective pasture and harvested forage management workshop is scheduled for Tuesday through Thursday, Jan. 6-8, 2015, at the NDSU Dickinson Research Extension Center.

Traditional beef production concepts consider beef weight as a source of income and forage as a major cost. Calf weight is the commodity sold at market. However, the source of the weight sold is forage nutrients.

"The original source of new wealth generated from livestock agriculture are the forage nutrients produced on land that has renewable natural resources," says Lee Manske, research professor at the Dickinson Research Extension Center. “Greater calf weight gain is accumulated per acre when greater quantities of crude protein are captured. However, capturing greater quantities of crude protein per acre requires biologically effective management that actively renews the natural resources of the land."

Forage plant production requires the four major essential elements of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen, plus the minor essential elements of seven macrominerals and 10 microminerals. These essential elements are transformed between organic forms and inorganic (mineral) forms by the ecosystem biogeochemical cycles performed by soil microorganisms.

Most of the land used for livestock agriculture in the northern Plains only has about 50 percent of the soil organism biomass that is needed for potential herbage production and calf weight gain per acre.

"We have discovered how to increase the soil organism biomass above the minimum needed," Manske says. "During the workshop, beef producers will be shown how to manage land resources with biologically effective strategies that increase soil organism biomass, herbage production and calf weight gains per acre, resulting in the capture of greater wealth per acre."

The workshop will be held in the Red Office Building on the corner of State Avenue and Empire Road in Dickinson. The workshop will run from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday. Dickinson is in the Mountain time zone.

The workshop instructors are Manske and Toby Stroh, Dickinson State University assistant professor and ArcGIS instructor.

The workshop will provide the knowledge for understanding the symbiotic partnership among perennial grass plants, soil organisms and grazing animals. Each workshop participant will learn how to develop and properly operate a biologically effective management strategy using twice-over rotation grazing on summer pastures in conjunction with a complete 12-month complementary pasture and harvested forage sequence specific for his or her ranch.

To design 12-month forage management strategies specific to individual ranches during the workshop, ArcGIS maps with each pasture and field for the entire land holdings, including owned and leased land, need to be made, and acreage of each soil type in each parcel of land needs to be calculated prior to the start of the workshop. Location descriptions of land holdings will need to be provided one month prior to the workshop to give specialists sufficient time to develop maps.

Lodging, transportation and most meals are the responsibility of the participants. There is a lab fee of $25 per person to cover the cost of supplies, refreshments and a working supper on the second day. A four-volume set of textbooks is available for $95. The ArcGIS map set will cost $75 for an average-sized ranch.

An option for professional development with one or two graduate credits for this continuing education course is available through NDSU at a cost of $50 per credit. Participants will supply their own calculators and notebooks.

Information related to the workshop material can be previewed at www.grazinghandbook.com.

For workshop information or to register, call Manske at 701-456-1118 or email llewellyn.manske@ndsu.edu. To request ArcGIS maps to be developed for a ranch, contact Stroh at 701-483-7771 or toby.stroh@dickinsonstate.edu before Dec 2.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.


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